Kadri’s in the house.. What now?

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Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Training camp opens today (physicals/media day), and one half of the dark cloud lurking over this awesome time of year in Leafland has been cleared up and squared away.

I can only see one potential “but” in yesterday’s good-value Kadri contract. An Adam Henrique or James van Riemsdyk contract (long term at a little over $4 million) might be the type of contract we wish we snagged Nazem on down the road. There’s no knowing if Kadri would be amenable to locking himself in long term at that low of a figure, however, and in the short term, with the cap dropping and the Leafs working with limited space, this 2-year bridge deal at sub-$3 million makes a ton of sense.

Kudos to Nonis on sticking to his guns here (and I mean really sticking to his guns), as this is a good deal in both salary and term. I wondered if Kadri would accept something like $2.9 million but agree to only a one-year term, sort of as a “see you for the big bucks this time next year” kind of thing. That the next Kadri re-up is staggered from the pending Phaneuf, Kessel and Gardiner (potentially Kulemin and Bolland as well) contracts, at a very cap friendly figure, is good news going forward, alleviating what could’ve been more added stress next off season.

Now let’s look into the roster options and cap space as it pertains to the Cody Franson situation. The Kadri contract is a relief, but the Leafs are not out of the woods yet.

The Leafs currently sit with $1,996,000 in cap space, if you include Trevor Smith and Korbinian Holzer in order to fill out a 22 man roster. Drop Holzer and Smith and you’re at $3.33 million with a bare minimum 20-man roster. That means the Leafs have $3.33 million to sign Franson and to fit in an extra forward. That last part is optional, but it seems that with two enforcers carrying 13 would be the wise thing to do. If the Leafs can convince Franson to take $2.5 million, a doubling of his salary from last season, they would have about $833,000 to either leave as wiggle room or to carry their 13th forward. $2.5 million seems a little ambitious, however.

Depending on how the competition plays out in camp, the Leafs could bury up to $925,000 in the minors with, say, Liles or Fraser going down, and carry only 6 defencemen (this is not ideal; the Leafs routinely carried eight last season). This also assumes Joe Colborne makes the team. It would be handy if he did, because Colborne’s $600,000 cap hit is the fourth lowest of any of the 46 players currently under contract with the organization. The perks of offering Colborne that one-way contract is the great value the Leafs should get if he’s playing on the big club.

It’s no mystery why Morgan Rielly has been checking out the Leafs’ capgeek page. There’s no getting around it; Rielly is going to have to wow the socks off of Leafs brass and force their hand on a demotion (burying a contract like Liles’) or a trade to include him on the big club this season.

All of these storylines and more will play out in the coming days and weeks. Hallelujah, hockey season is upon us.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • wiski

    congrats buddy..:))!

  • Great Dane

    Taking about trading Liles.
    I wouldn’t be surprised that inside a couple of months would see a trade a package of Liles and Reimer to Flames. If Bernier grabs the goal then this scenario is very likely.

    Flames only have Ramo and Joey McD in goal and their defense is not great.
    But what could Flames actually offer.

  • Wardus

    GREAT DEAL!!!!  Thanks Kadri!!! :)  Don’t worry, if you play like you can, you’ll get paid next time around.

  • Savo43

    If we demote Liles, Smith, Ranger, and Holzer now, we’ll have over 5.183 mill to sign both Franson (2.9m), Raymond (900k) while recalling Blacker (870k), and Brennan (600k) for the 6th and 7th spots. We’d only have 73k left on the cap but our roster would be lookin pretty dangerous. 

    JVR-Bozak-Kessel
    Lupul-Kadri-Clarkson
    Raymond-Bolland-Kulemin
    McClement-Colborne-Orr
    McLaren

    Gunnarsson-Phaneuf
    Gardiner-Franson
    Fraser-Blacker
    Brennan

    Bernier/Reimer

    Cap Space = $73,333 

    Now, if Franson signs for 2.5, we won’t need to demote Ranger, but tbh i like the idea of Blacker making the club over him anyways, start developing another right handed dman. With Ranger we have 5 (6 including Brennan) left handed defensemen. Thats borderline ridiculous.

  • Great Dane

    Savo43 Nonis just need to move Liles and we would be in great shape.
    Add Ranger and that is a pretty good line-up for the coming season.
    To be honest we only need to get past 1st October, then injuries will take care of the cap problem. Unfortunately.

  • Great Dane

    Regarding Mason Raymond on the high-lights of his goals last season did anyone notices the same as I did:
    MR scores on the power play or off the rush. Putting Raymond on a line with Bolland and Kulimin to pressure the other teams top line would be a good option.
    Blazing speed to capitalize on mistakes with Gardiner and Franson dishing outlet passes seems like to good formula  to me.

  • Savo43

    Great Dane Thank you Daner, glad somebody can see past the whole, “him being a Canuck” thing.

  • TMLConnor

    Savo43 Yeah good point, but ranger was a pretty highly coveted signing, I havent seen a whole lot of him, but from his previous stats he could surprise a lot of us.

  • Optimustic

    Great Dane Yup, I noticed that.  I also noticed the same thing on the highlight reel when we acquired Matt Lombardi.  It didn’t work out so well at the time.   Not saying it won’t work out this time, but I’m taking the wait and see approach for now.

  • Gene

    Great Dane Gardiner and Franson wouldn’t be my first choice to play against top lines.